Rolling with the Stones
Of his own choosing, Bill Wyman's career as a founding member of the Rolling Stones has achieved a perspective that his legendary bandmates don't yet enjoy: a beginning, middle, and end. Indeed, the musicians once hailed as the greatest rock & roll band in the world have become more like the band that wouldn't die. But history can't be denied, and the man born William Perks of Lower Sydenham, London, has lovingly assembled this over-500-page book, equal parts memoir and lavishly illustrated coffee-table tome, with a winning mix of clear-eyed reportage (based on his own voluminous diaries) and an eye for colorful detail and ephemera worthy of a proud family scrapbook. Which, in many ways, Rolling with the Stones most resembles: family--and musical--trees are acknowledged, career moves dissected, deaths mourned, and triumphs and foibles alike are dispensed with equal candor. Wyman deflates the myth of the Stones as rock's preternatural bad boys (a conservative, sensationalist press made it all too easy to live down to expectations) yet allows the tragic legend of band founder Brian Jones to assume its proper perspective. A half-decade older than his bandmates, the retired Stone has few illusions about the band's true cultural impact and creative arc, devoting nearly three-quarters of the book to the Stones' first, turbulent decade. What is more gratifying is that he avoids the myopic constraints of the similarly sized Beatles Anthology, generously weaving the recollections of band members, associates, family, reporters, and even fan letters into a narrative whose outline is epic, but whose viewpoint has a decidedly human scale.